Friday, December 21, 2012

Good Sign From USCIS

Yesterday we got an email from the USCIS. We were informed that they had received our application and it would be sent on within 7 days. I wasn't sure what to think of it because I didn't receive the notifications on the last adoption. I had no idea the normal time table. I sent it on to our agency just in case they had not received it. Myriam, at Agape Adoptions, replied back with "This is a good sign". She would know. This is what she does all day.

Now we send another check. Normally I would be a little nervous about sending a check this size but I am grateful the money is available and needed so soon.

Learning Logic

Malia, who is 6, came home from school on a 25 degree day. It's been on the cold side here, at least for my liking. With enthusiasm for her new found knowledge she says,

"Mom, if you run really fast at recess you will get warmer."

Me, "That's a great idea".

I love to watch their minds grow!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Crazy Days

I woke up yesterday morning a little concerned about how I was going to juggle appointments for the afternoon. I figured things out knowing that I was on a very tight schedule. At 2:20 the fun began. I put my coat on grabbed my purse and reached for my phone. No phone. I asked  Bria and Hyrum where it was and Hyrum said my phone was in the bathroom. Not a good sign! I went to the bathroom to find a large puddle on the floor with soggy toilet paper everywhere. The toilet was full of toilet paper and I couldn't see anything good in there. I was not about to reach my hand in and find out if the phone was in there either or not. Hyrum still was insistent that my phone was in the bathroom. I ran through the house looking in all the obvious places and couldn't find my phone. My assumption at that moment was that we may have a clogged toilet coming up.

I was now running late and my best laid plans were even tighter than before. I drove to the high school to pick Creed up. He wasn't walking like normal so I drove all the way into the school. Still no Creed. I started to get a little uptight knowing he had a dentist appointment at 3:00 and we still had to check Emma out of school and get to the dentist. By 2:45 I left the school and went back the way I came hoping that I had missed seeing Creed somewhere. He was no where to be seen. It finally occurred to me that someone may have picked him up and given him a ride home. No matter what was going on I now didn't have time to go get him IF he was even at home. I drove a little faster than I should have and made it to Emma's school as she was getting ready to go to the bus. I ran down the halls of the school, that felt good to rebel, and got in the car right at 3:00. Really a miracle to go through all the steps that fast. I think next time I go to the school they will keep a better eye on me.

We got to the dentist 10 minutes late and I still didn't know where Creed was. With great embarrassment I asked if I could use their phone to call home. Pierce answered and said that Creed did make it home but he had left to go find me and had my phone. I said "On foot?" It was about 20 degrees outside. My next thought was, cool my phone isn't in the toilet. I tried to call Creed to find out where he was so I could go get him for the next appointment. I dialed 3 times and got the message the phone was out of order. My first thought was. Maybe it really was in the toilet and it doesn't work anymore. Now I was even more embarrassed and asked if I could call Doug. Hopefully I had forgotten my phone number. The secretary sat me down in the chair behind the desk and let me use the phone as much as I wanted. I called Doug and found out that, Yep, I had forgotten my phone number. I finally got ahold of Creed and told him to turn back to home and I would pick him up. I got back to the dentist within about 10 minutes but now I was late picking up the other kids at school and Emma was sitting in the dentist chair with no family even there for her.  Poor girl. I dropped Creed off with instructions to stay right with Emma and drove over to the school. I got there a few minutes late and Casey jumped in to ask if a friend could come over. What next?!? I tried to say no but he wore me down and I let him and his friend know that we would be at the dentist for about 45 minutes before we got home. The friend still wanted to come over. I parked at the dentist office and gave the kids the option to sit in the freezing van to do homework or go in with me. Only 1 child came in so I didn't worry too much about all the rest of the kids freezing. They would keep each other warm. Besides, they knew how to walk into the office.

I got in the dentist office and the secretary said "I don't know how you do it". I hear that ALL the time and this time I really felt like "Me neither".  We spent the next 45 minutes waiting and talking. Our dentist is a friend so there is always something to talk about. I got back outside and the kids didn't even fight. Miracle!!! We went home and the dominoes continued to keep falling. It is amazing how my time was so precariously booked. No wonder I started to feel some stress that morning for the first time in a few weeks. There was not enough time in a day. I made it through and my 5 loads of laundry got folded and my bathroom even got cleaned. Success!

I Know

I walk in after bringing children to school and notice there is orange juice on the table.

I said "Who had orange juice?"

Hyrum replies "Me".

I said "Daddy loves you".

Hyrum "I know".

Hyrum with a mouth full of cookie. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

O Come, Emmanuel


No words can express my feelings towards my Savior Jesus Christ. He is the reason for my happiness and joy. I wish that I were eloquent and could express my deepest feelings for Him who saves. But I am far from eloquent as you have all noticed. Please enjoy this video as an expression of my testimony of the Savior of the World.




Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Family Nativity In Pictures







Our family Nativity in pictures. 

Cast

Baby Jesus - Doll
Mary - Hannah
Joseph - Clayson
Donkey - Malia
Shephard - Marshall
Sheep - Pierce and Bria
Angel - Niya
Inn Keeper - Hyrum
Wise Men - Creed, Casey, Olivia
Camera Man - Deanne, video that is
Narrator - Doug
Audience - Emma

We had a great time and it will be remembered for years to come.
It's better on film.



Protect The Children, The Time Is Now

I have referenced a talk given in General Conference several times now but this talk comes back to haunt me on a regular basis. I think the Lord is keeping my thoughts and desires where he wants them. At times I feel like I just want to forget all the heart ache and trauma that so many innocent children face on a daily basis. It's not an easy place to be.

Last Friday Doug and I went out to dinner and ended up in a restaurant that had average prices. When I saw the bill I just thought what a waste that money was. Mediocre food and not a great atmosphere. I realized that with that money we could be sponsoring a child that has nothing. Doug and I decided that we were going to alter a date a month and sponsor a child in China instead. On that night every month we will be creative with what we eat and remember why we are doing this. We are going to make it somewhat of a game or adventure.  Tonight we got on the computer and looked at some children from the same healing home as our new son to be. We felt like we wanted to pay it back by supporting that home. There were 5 children that we could sponsor and would get monthly updates and pictures on. It was too hard to choose so we still haven't signed up yet. We will make a decision by the end of the week and start our giving.

Two years ago I was introduced to a child that was in need of a family. At the same time I was also presented with Hyrum. We all know that we chose Hyrum and I would do it all over again. Unfortunately, this other little boy has been left in China with no family. I have followed all the advocating for him and watched for updates. I have a friend that has met him and she has told me some things about this little guy. I have watched with great interest and waited for the announcement that he had a family. Another agency advocating for him came and went and still no family. I emailed my friend and asked if she knew if anyone was looking at him. Just before bed she emailed back and let me know that he is in the hospital. My heart sunk. I didn't sleep much last night because of the worry for him. Leo, as they call him has severe Complex Heart Disease. He doesn't seem to be doing as well as our little guy that is to be rushed home for medical care.

Today I decided to do some digging and see if I could find anymore out about the situation. Leo is in the hospital for pneumonia. Pneumonia is one of the biggest challenges for the orphans. Leo especially is in danger because of the heart issue. One person told me they were praying that he would return back to our Father in Heaven and shed the body he has. I completely understand but I found I couldn't pray for that. My heart kept praying for his health. He deserves a life but is it worth it if he heals, gets surgery and then lives a life as an orphan? Probably not.

Now this brings me to a place that pushes me even further than I have gone before. I need to help find Leo a family or a donor for his adoption and we bring him home. Wow, I said it. I know Leo's life is in the Lord's hands and God has a plan  for Leo. I am very aware that we may not be in that plan as a family but maybe as an advocate. Leo needs surgery now and from what very little knowledge I have it looks like he has hope for a good life. Not like the unknowns of our son in China.

Leo is a sweet little boy that is turning 5 soon. He loves to dance and sing! Leo loves stuffed animals. He is on target with the rest of the children his age in the orphanage, which is a miracle. Heart children are typically behind because of a lack of energy. He is a good helper and all the children in the large orphanage love him. One family adopted two girls from his orphanage last February. The mom sent a Christmas package that didn't make it until after they returned to the states. The girls asked their new mom if the things could be given to Leo because they loved him so much. This little boy is loved because he is good and kind. Do you know anyone that could help? If so please pass the word along. Leo deserves a family and health. He didn't choose to be born in China where his birth family couldn't give him medical care and had to abandon him. He could be any of our children and we would have been able to care for and love him. Leo would have had a family here. Let's give it our all to get Leo to his family.




Now is the time for me to step up my efforts of protecting the children and this is where I start.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Our adoption is Moving Along

We got word today that our homestudy and I800a application have been overnighted to the USCIS. Just to explain, there is a process a family must go through in the US to prove that a family does in fact fit the requirements set forth by our government to adopt a child from overseas. This application goes to the USCIS. The USCIS is the immigration arm. They require a copy of the homestudy and an application along with some other documents. All the paperwork is read over and an appointment to get fingerprinted is issued. If the homestudy has all the information needed and the fingerprints come back clear the family is then issued their approval. That is called the I-171. It is this process that we are now starting. Normally it is taking 6-8 weeks to complete but we are hoping to be done in just a couple of weeks.

We are finally making progress and depending on if the USCIS officer decides that our son's life is in danger or not will determine when we travel and how fast he can be seen by a doctor. Funny that a lay person can make a medical decision. The USCIS sees cases like this daily so we have no idea if we will be expedited or not. At least we are at the next step in the journey.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas Concert

Last night we had the opportunity to go see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra with Alfie Boe and Tom Brokaw. It was fantastic!!! Tyler and Jessica were honored to be dancers in it. I think I was the proudest Mama there. Doug and I just smiled the whole time they were on stage. One dance Jessica was right in front but we couldn't see Tyler. That was fine we could watch Jessica the whole time without splitting our attention  She is so graceful and beautiful. We sure love her. Then part way through the song a couple came out dressed in a gold gown and tails. They danced up and down the stairs reminiscent of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. It didn't take long to notice it was Tyler. He was graceful. They danced beautifully!

Seeing Alfie Boe perform was great. He has a beautiful voice and is very unassuming. After his first song he took a couple of minutes to speak. One thing he said was that being there was a dream come true. My heart almost burst for him. I knew that dream and felt such joy for his success. I was happy to be there and participate in making his dream a reality. His performance was magnificent.

Sereen and Jared had saved some seats while we hunted for a parking spot. They didn't know that where we sat would have an impact on me. We sat down  and noticed right in front of us was a mentally disabled young man. He had brought two leading batons with him and had them held tightly in his hand. In different moments of the concert I would notice that this young man would raise his hand high and lead the music. He couldn't stay in his seat when the music came to a climax. He just had to get up and lead. It was clear that he had a talent for music and could feel the natural highs, lows and cuts. I was not distracted in the least because the music was so engrossing. At one point in the concert I began to reflect on my earlier dreams of performing on stage. At that moment this young man caught my attention as he was leading the music. I thought of his talent and unfulfilled dreams of leading the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I recognized that both of us were in the service of our Father in Heaven by accepting the calling on earth that we have and what a valiant son he was for sacrificing so much . Then came a moment of longing,

 "Father, please let me sing in his choir one day".



I found a link to an article with pictures of Tyler and Jessica. Jessica is in several pictures. Scroll through and you will see Jessica wearing the sparkly purple dress. Continue scrolling, Tyler is the first guy on the right with the girl in the gold.

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/55465611-78/concert-alfie-boe-choir.html.csp

Thursday, December 13, 2012

You Can't Get Out


 I heard some very strange noises coming from the direction of Hyrum's room. I couldn't decide if it was someone crying or a cat dying.  I had to investigate and this is what I found. Hyrum barricading Pierce in the cabinet. If I had to barricade someone out I don't think I would use pillows. Pretty smart to start with the truck first.







Cute Conversation

Today Hyrum, Bria and I were in the car when this cute conversation took place. It went something  like this.

Bria, "Hyrum need friend, we need nudder one brudder. We need go Chnia."

Mom, "Well, you need to talk to Dad and Heavenly Father about that. We need money to get another         brother."

Pause..

 Bria, "I got great idea. At dark we tell Jesus we money and get nudder brudder then we be happy."

The faith and innocence of a child.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

You Were Meant To Be and Update


As Clayson, Creed and I all stayed home from church not feeling well, we watched a Veggie Tales movie, "It's a Meaningful Life". This story is a spin off of "It's a Wonderful Life". Of course, the main character goes on a journey to see what his life would have been like if his regrets of life had been avoided. It illustrates the change in who he is and how different his life would be.  The main theme was that God is in charge of our lives and places the people and experiences there for us to grow into who He would have us be.

I still struggle at moments with giving up some dreams I have had over the years but God is mindful of me and has not given up on me yet. He is still teaching me the importance of giving my life for Him and the showing me the blessing that come from it. This song by Steven Curtis Chapman "You Were Meant To Be", is one of those moments that our Father In Heaven reminds us of who we are and that He has a plan for us. I recommend you click the link and watch it.

"For I know the thought that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end."

He is in charge and wants only the best for us. He will prosper us if we allow Him to lead the way.


Update on our homestudy. We got word that all the changes are made and our placing agency is waiting to receive the final copy. Once they have it the USCIS application will go out overnight. The agency will then contact USCIS to alert them the application is coming. Because of the delays with the homestudy I have wondered if travel would be delayed past February. Our agency thinks that once we get all the paperwork to China things will go very quickly and she is still planning on February travel.

I hope for several reasons we go in February. My biggest concern right now is Hyrum and Bria. I had a discussion with them the other night about us being gone to China. (They bug me every day about going to get our new boy and Hyrum's friend. Bria is insistent that we need to get two boys this trip and go NOW. That is all in the Lord's hands. We can't even consider it financially.) If we get to travel in February then most of the kids will be off track and Hyrum and Bria will have their support system home while we are gone. They will also have distractions.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Homestudy Woes

We are still waiting on getting our homestudy approved by two different agencies. The homestudy finally made it to the placing agency this week and is now back in the hands of our social worker for some revisions. She has had to put another 4 hours of work into it. It seems the placing agency is being "nit picky". Our social worker isn't too happy about that.

I find it amazing that all the agencies have different requirements for the same country. Our homestudy made it through one China adoption. Why all the changes this time? Every agency says that what they need is required by China but I know for sure that is not the case. Maybe at some point the agencies will realize that we parents talk online and know what is going on in the adoption world. They really make themselves look silly at times.

Hopefully I can write that our USCIS application is submitted soon. It should have been done last week. Oh well, it's all in the Lord's hands.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Perspective


The American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The fisherman replied, only a little while.
The American then asked why didn't he stay out longer and catch more fish.
The Mexican said he had enough to support his family's immediate needs.
The American then asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"
The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life."
The American scoffed, "I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise."
The Mexican fisherman asked, "But, how long will this all take?"
To which the American replied, "15-20 years."
"But what then?"
The American laughed and said that's the best part. "When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions."
"Millions...Then what?"
The American said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."